ESSEX Police took part in a targeted week of action to warn the public about drink spiking.

The week of activities saw officers talking to people about the issue by visiting schools, colleges, universities and shopping centres to share advice, offer support and hand out test kits.

The operation also targeted the night-time economy by working with pubs and clubs in key locations, to give up-to-date information on how to spot and handle spiking in the premises.

The activities were part of Anti-Spiking Intensification Week - the first national week of action to tackle spiking, which ran from March 18-24.

Chief Insp Paul Hogben, Essex Police tactical lead on spiking, said: “The week has enabled us to focus our attention on spiking by speaking to people across the county.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Leaflets - Police engaged with the public in the Anti-Spiking Intensification WeekLeaflets - Police engaged with the public in the Anti-Spiking Intensification Week (Image: Essex Police)“This complemented the work we do all year round to help keep people in Essex safe by targeting predatory behaviour and those looking to exploit people enjoying a night out.

“Our officers trained in behaviour detection techniques were also on patrol, ready to disrupt anyone intent on committing offences.

“We also want to make sure that all incidents are reported to us and reported quickly to help us investigate.”

Officers carried out a night of action in Chelmsford, supported by community partners, which focused on education and awareness of violence against women and girls and drink spiking.

Community policing teams and licensing teams spoke to staff and owners at venues about how they can support spiking investigations and information on how to keep their customers safe.

Mr Hogben said: “Spiking is a complex offence to investigate. Quick reporting and early evidence gathering is key, which is why it’s important that young people in particular are aware of the symptoms of spiking and feel confident in reporting it to us.

“This awareness raising alongside our work with licensed venues to train bar staff in how to handle spiking in their premises is part of our continued commitment to helping people in Essex enjoy themselves and keep safe.”